LAS VEGAS (Dec. 17, 2009) – The 41st annual World Series of Poker® (WSOP®) -- a set of poker tournaments open to anyone 21 years of age or older -- returns Thursday, May 27, 2010 when live action and satellites begin. The annual poker extravaganza, which dates back to 1970, is televised exclusively on ESPN from the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and consists of a comprehensive slate of the game’s most popular variations running from May 27-July 17, 2010.
A total of 57 coveted gold bracelets will be up for grabs in 2010 – equal to last year’s total. July 4th is the tournaments sole “off day”, and will be dedicated to satellites for all those seeking another entry option into poker’s biggest event.
On Friday, May 28, the first open bracelet event will be the $50,000 buy-in Player’s Championship – the most expensive buy-in event to ever open up the World Series of Poker. Playing for the bracelet and the prestigious Chip Reese Memorial Trophy, the event will follow an eight-game format made popular by the late poker legend, and those participating in the mythical “Big Game” around Las Vegas card rooms. Over the first four days, Limit Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better, Seven Card Razz, Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8 or Better, No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha and 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball will be played, with the Final Table being No-Limit Hold’em, as was the case when Reese won the inaugural $50K buy-in event in 2006. ESPN will provide television coverage of this event under the new format.
The opening weekend (May 29-30), features a $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament, which last year established a non-Main Event record of 6,012 entrants. The four-day event includes two starting flights, one each on Saturday and Sunday at 12 noon.
Another first at the WSOP this year, the first 5 weekends of the series will feature $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournaments with two starting flights. May 29-30, June 5-6, June 12-13, June 19-20 and June 26-27 will offer No-Limit Hold’em players from the weekend warrior to the most advanced player the opportunity to compete in some of the largest fields of the year for huge prize pools and a gold bracelet. A sixth event on July 1-2, will also offer the same event at the same buy-in level, just days before the Main Event commences.
The 41st annual WSOP will conclude, as is customary now, with the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship (aka the Main Event) which begins play Monday, July 5 and should reach its final table (nine players) on Saturday, July 17, at which time play will be halted for the third consecutive year. The famed tournament’s culmination will be held with the “November Nine” from November 6-9, before a live audience with special primetime coverage from ESPN.
"Whatever your game and whatever your bankroll, the 2010 WSOP schedule offers something for everyone,” said WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel, who will oversee the event for the fifth consecutive year. "We are planning for the largest WSOP ever and look forward to welcoming all players to the Rio in Las Vegas next summer."
The entire convention center of the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino will be exclusively dedicated to the 2010 World Series of Poker for the first time, with tournament tables in the 58,000 square foot Pavilion and the 38,000 square foot Amazon Room. The final number of tables in play is subject to regulatory approval, given just prior to the tournament commencing.
Player comfort is also being addressed by new rules regulating the daily amount of play. Excluding the Main Event, gold bracelet tournaments will begin at 12 noon and 5 PM Pacific Time each day, with a maximum of 10-one hour levels being played for the noon starts, while the 5 PM events playing a maximum of 8 one-hour levels. Day 1 play is expected to conclude at 12:45 AM for noon starts and 2:45 AM for the 5 PM starts. For those advancing past the first day, re-starts for noon bracelet events will be at 2:30 PM, and 5 PM tournaments will restart at 3 PM, with a maximum of 10 levels being played each day until a champion is crowned. The Main Event features two-hour levels and play begins at 12 noon each day.
Registration for all bracelet events will remain open until the start of the third level (approximately 2 hours, 20 minutes after start time) – or until all available seats have sold. Pre-registration for the 2010 WSOP is now available on-site at the Main Cage of the Rio in Las Vegas and online through www.wsop.com. This is the earliest registration has ever opened, as players now have more than five months to register for the first event, and more than six months to register for the Main Event.
Players are encouraged to register in advance to avoid being shutout of their favorite events. Any foreign entrants who wire transfer monies will receive the exchange rate into U.S. dollars at the time of the wire transfer, thus locking in their exchange rate in advance.
New policies and procedures regarding Main Event registration will be detailed in the future, but entrants can expect to be assigned starting days after a certain date. The only way to guarantee your starting day will be to pre-register prior to the determined cut-off date.
All Harrah’s properties in Las Vegas offer special reduced room rates for entrants of WSOP bracelet events. Rates start as low as $69 for players staying at the host property, the Rio. Imperial Palace offers rates as low as $30, and Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Paris and Caesars Palace provide WSOP player rates as low as $45-$100 a night. Click here for the special WSOP player hotel rates.
The 2010 WSOP marks the 41st running of the game’s most prestigious annual tournament. In 2009, the WSOP generated the most entries ever (60,875) from 115 different countries that competed for more than $174 million while awarding 57 championship gold bracelets, globally recognized as the game’s top prize.
To view the entire schedule, visit WSOP.com/schedule where you can download event structures, pre-registration forms or save the schedule to your calendar and even link it to your Facebook, Twitter or other social network sites. Media can add a WSOP schedule widget to their websites, by going to WSOP.com/poker-widgets/.
Among the highlights of the 2010 schedule:
• 57 gold bracelet events over 51 days.
• Expanded footprint – The giant Pavilion Ballroom (58,000 sq. feet) will be in use this year for poker in the Rio Convention Center. The Pavilion is the largest ballroom at the Rio, and along with the famed Amazon Room (38,000 sq. feet), will make-up the playing rooms for this year’s WSOP. The entire convention space will be used.
• Expanded capacity – Along with expanded footprint, comes more poker tables. A record 295 tables were utilized last year, and this year’s configuration is still being plotted, but expected to offer about 20 percent more tables.
• No Food Tent – The outdoor food tent will now become an indoor food court experience. The Miranda Ballroom, last year used as a room for play, will be converted into a food court with a variety of popular food items for players and spectators.
• Sensational Structures & Starting Chips – Drafting off last year’s success, all gold bracelet events in 2010 will feature triple the buy-in in starting chips and deep structures, providing plenty of play.
• $25K 6-Handed No-Limit – A new event this year will be a $25,000 buy-in 6-handed No-Limit Hold’em 4-day event. Event #52 begins on Wednesday, June 30 at 12 noon.
• $50K Players Championship – The Chip Reese Trophy is up for grabs at the $50,000 buy-in eight-game mixed event, dubbed the Players Championship, which is being morphed from the $50K H.O.R.S.E. tournament run the past four years. This new eight-game format will serve as the true test of the game’s greatest all-around player and receive star treatment, with ESPN cameras covering the five-day event for television. Event #2 starts on Friday, May 28 at 5:00 PM.
• Still Plenty of H.O.R.S.E. – A new $10,000 buy-in H.O.R.S.E. Championship tournament will be offered, to go along with $1,500 and $3,000 buy-ins to the popular game.
• The 4th annual Ante Up For Africa Celebrity-Charity Tournament -- $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em celebrity and charity tournament on Saturday, July 3, (two days before the Main Event begins) featuring the opportunity for anyone age 21 or older to enter and be seated at the same table as A-list celebrities and top poker pros.
• The Ladies Only No-Limit Hold’em Championship – On Friday, June 11, featuring a $1,000 buy-in and helping to raise awareness for the Nevada Cancer Institute, the official community relations partner of the World Series of Poker.
• The Seniors Only No-Limit Hold’em Championship – On Friday, June 18 , featuring a $1,000 buy-in for all poker enthusiasts 50 years of age or older.
• June $550 No-Limit Hold’em Tournaments – Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 1:00 PM throughout June, the Rio will host new $550 No-Limit Hold’em tournaments for those looking for a Hold’em fix. These are one-day structured tournaments, and not bracelet events.
In addition, a complete array of satellites, from single-table to mega, will be offered beginning from May 27-July 8. Nightly No-Limit Hold’em tournaments will be offered from May 27-July 4 at 7:00 PM and 11:00 PM.
All winners will be required to provide a valid picture ID. Tax forms will be completed for those with winnings in excess of $5,000 net of event buy-in. Players without a Tax Identification Number and foreign players from non-tax treaty countries are subject to up to 30 percentage tax withholding. WSOP reserves the right to cancel, change or modify the tournament or any tournament event, in part or in whole, without notice.
ABOUT THE WSOP
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the largest, richest and most prestigious gaming event in the world awarding millions of dollars in prize money and the prestigious gold bracelet, globally recognized as the sport’s top prize. Featuring a comprehensive slate of tournaments in every major poker variation, the WSOP is poker’s longest running tournament in the world, dating back to 1970. In 2009, the event attracted 60,875 entrants from 115 different countries to the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and awarded over $174 million in prize money. The WSOP in December, 2008 was named the 7th most admired sports brand in North America by the Turnkey Sports Survey, trailing only the older and more established NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR and PGA Tour among sports properties. In addition, the WSOP has experienced groundbreaking alliances in broadcasting, digital media and corporate sponsorships, while successfully expanding the brand internationally with the advent in 2007 of the World Series of Poker EuropeSM. For more information on the World Series of Poker, please visit our website at www.WSOP.com.